Whether it's card games, board games, sports or digital games, most people have a pastime they pick up and play for diversion, nourishment or stress relief. And why not? Games are psychologically engaging activities found on fields, in living rooms, on computers and, probably, on the phone in your pocket.

First and foremost, we are scientists. Our aim is to find out just what makes games so engaging and how the components of game design can be applied in nontraditional ways. It may seem counterintuitive to think of games as science, but really, any problem solving activity you enjoy can be a game. As game designer Jesse Schell tells us, “A game is a problem solving activity approached with a playful attitude.”

Here at the GBE Lab, we use that playful spirit to solve problems that range the gamut from the student retention crisis to recycling waste.